Targeting finance key to tackling terror organizations
EU efforts to tackle terror must target their financing, argues Rachida Dati.
With more than 5000 European citizens leaving to join the ranks of terrorist organisations such as Isis in Syria and Iraq, we face a threat that is both mobile and internal.
Following the publication in April of the Commission's European agenda on security, I have been responsible for Parliament’s civil liberties, justice and home affairs (LIBE) committee's report on the prevention of radicalisation and the recruitment of European citizens by terrorist organisations.
This addresses issues of radicalisation online and in prisons, offering solutions through education and de-radicalisation programmes. It also highlights the problems of preventing citizens from leaving to join these organisations, and how to deal with them returning to Europe.
- The EU must do more to tackle radicalisation
- EU's anti-terror response should not compromise 'values and identity'
- MEPs split over EU counter-terrorism response
While some of our members' positions may differ, the LIBE committee is united by a common purpose: to provide strong recommendations that protect Europeans and make Europe a vector for improving world security.
Yet the only way to counter radicalisation efficiently is by tackling the root of the problem. As my report points out, the priority must be to weaken terrorist organisations from the inside, dismantling them and detecting the channels through which they are financed.
This last issue - financing - must be dealt with through EU regulation. I call upon the Commission to act urgently. President Juncker's team claims that few arguments support the creation of a European terrorist finance tracking system.
However, I hope that through my report, Parliament can press the Commission to change its mind.
Nevertheless, the question of international financial transparency will not be resolved solely at European level.
It requires close cooperation with other countries and the Gulf states in particular. Last February, the EU declared its willingness to engage in a dialogue on the fight against terrorist financing with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
However, we need to translate words into action. GCC member states have been working alongside many European countries in an international coalition against Isis. To fight efficiently, the EU needs the GCC's expertise and intelligence over and beyond logistical support.
This must be a wholehearted and transparent commitment. Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been accused of directly or indirectly financing terrorist organisations. The best way for these countries to respond is by partnering with Europe to detect financing channels and help us in our quest to dismantle terrorist networks.
This transparency effort must also extend to the financing of structures and organisations in Europe and Africa, so as to avoid propagating dangerous and radical narratives.
Our fight against Isis will be in vain if we do not take action and improve cooperation with the Gulf states. This is the most pressing issue, which is why we at Parliament have made it one of our primary goals.
The last 12 months have seen swift progress in the development of European defence and security capabilities.
Secularism, as a bulwark to radicalisation, should be a key EU foreign policy priority, argues the European Foundation for Democracy's Tommaso Virgili.
If Europe is serious about fighting terrorism and extremism, the institutions of the EU need to be more actively engaged in the current situation involving Qatar, argues Richard Burchill.